Star Wars Celebration: 6 Highlights From ‘The Mandalorian’ Panel

“The Mandalorian” is expanding its reach across the galaxy.

On Saturday, “Mandalorian” executive producers Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau took the stage at Star Wars Celebration for “Mando+,” a panel on the future of the smash-hit “Star Wars” Disney+ series, plus its spin-offs “The Book” of Boba Fett” and the upcoming “Ahsoka.”

Joining them at onstage at the Anaheim Convention Center was a veritable bounty of guest stars, including the “Mandalorian” himself, Pedro Pascal, his doubles Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder, longtime series director Rick Famuyiwa and recurring cast members Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, Emily Swallow and Katee Sackhoff. Also in attendance was “The Book of Boba Fett” lead Temuera Morrison and the stars of the upcoming “Ahsoka,” Rosario Dawson and Natasha Liu Bordizzo. The star-studded lineup chatted about joining the world of “Star Wars,” and, while remaining tight-lipped about plot details, teased events to come in the ever-expanding world of “The Mandalorian.”

Here are all the highlights from the “Mando+” panel:

New footage teases a fight between Mando and the Mandalorians

During the panel, fans received a treat with a first-look teaser from the upcoming third season. Although Filoni and Favreau said the footage would be the same as what played from the Lucasfilm presentation on Thursday, the new footage was actually much longer. While it started the same, confirming the reappearance of Weathers as Greef Karga to the series, the extended footage shows a character ominously telling Grogu, “You don’t think your father is the only Mandalorian, do you?”

Following this, the trailer shows Din Djarin, or “Mando,” (Pascal) fighting other armored Mandalorian warriors. The teaser ends with Mando and Grogu flying down to the planet Mandalore, where Mando intends to regain his honor by visiting the “the living waters” beneath the mines on the planet.

Bo-Katan Kryze will play a major role in Season 3

The teaser footage for Season 3 showed a major role for Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan Kyrze. Originally created for Filoni’s series “The Clone Wars,” Katan is a Mandalorian warrior who seeks the Darksaber, a weapon currently held by Mando, which would make her the rightful heir to rule Mandalore. After first appearing in Season 2 of the show, “The Mandalorian” Season 3 sees Sackhoff as the major antagonistic force, chasing down Mando and Grogu for the darksaber. Although she didn’t disclose new plot details, Sackhoff talked about how much the character of Bo-Katan meant to her, and how important she will be to “The Mandalorian” going forward.

“My dad raised me on science-fiction, he raised me on strong characters, and when I was little we didn’t have many strong female characters to discuss,” Sackhoff said. “To be able to play the women that I get to play throughout my career has been a gift, and strong women keep presenting themselves to me… and the fact that they trusted me to bring [Bo-Katan] to live action, I’m pinching myself.”

Rick Famuyiwa promoted to executive producer

Although the Mando crew remained tight-lipped about what’s to come when the show premieres its third season, Favreau did drop one bit of behind-the-scenes news: Famuyiwa, who has directed three episodes of the series in the past, has been promoted to executive producer going forward. Asked how that feels, Famuyiwa joked that he was just learning the news now, but seriously expressed his excitement about helping guide the creative world of “The Mandalorian.”

“This has always been a dream of mine, to tell stories in this world, this universe, this galaxy,” Famuyiwa told the crowd.

When asked if he can say anything about Season 3, Famuyiwa clammed up, replying with a blunt “No.”

“That’s why you’re a producer Rick,” Favreau quipped.

The Star Wars Animation to Live Action Pipeline

Originally an animated character played by Ashley Eckstein, Ahsoka Tano has become one of the breakout stars of the “Star Wars” universe, with Rosario Dawson portraying the character in her live-action debut on “The Mandalorian” Season 2. And she’s not the only “Star Wars” animation character making the move to live-action.

During the panel, fans received a very early sneak peak of “Ahsoka,” which is currently filming and set to debut on Disney+ next year. Although short, the teaser confirmed that Bordizzo would appear in the series as Sabine, who originally starred alongside Ahsoka in the animated series “Star Wars Rebels.” The trailer also featured the “Rebels” droid Chopper, and ended with an image of Ahsoka glancing at art of the main cast from the animated series — teasing that fan favorite characters like Ezra, Hera and Kanan may make appearances in the live-action show .

The panel also featured a surprise guest appearance from Chopper, with Dawson bringing out the friendly droid to meet the audience. Following the sneak-peak footage, Bordizzo joined the panel to discuss bringing the popular Mandalorian warrior Sabine to life.

“I know how much Sabine means to a lot of people, and watching ‘Rebels’ she’s come to mean a hell of a lot to me too,” Bordizzo said. “So I think you guys are going to be really excited about the journey she’s about to have.”

“The Book of Boba Fett” seems to be closed

Morrison was one of the most excitable members of the panel, making his grand entrance onto the stage with a traditional Māori haka and receiving a standing ovation from the audience. But, while fans were treated to footage from “Mandalorian” and “Ahsoka,” there were no teases or mentions for a potential Season 2 of “The Book of Boba Fett.”

While Morrison — who also portrayed Fett’s father, Jango, in “Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” a film which celebrated its 20th anniversary with a special panel on Friday — has the potential to pop-up in many different time periods and corners of the Star Wars galaxy, there was no confirmation that the character would appear in either “The Mandalorian” Season 3 or “Ahsoka,” nor teases for future projects. Instead, Morrison spent his time on stage thanking the fans for the support they showed “Boba Fett,” and informing them that Ming-Na Wen — who co-led the series as master assassin and mercenary Fennec Shand — sends her love dela. The actor announced via twitter earlier on Saturday that she tested positive for COVID and wouldn’t be able to attend Celebration.

Following the panel, though, Morrison spoke to Variety senior culture and events editor Marc Malkin on the red carpet and admitted that he doesn’t know what’s next for the bounty hunter.

“There’s no official word just yet. They filmed it like it could just be a nice book and we’ve read the book,” Morrison explained. “Otherwise, we could write another book. And I keep missing the guy who’s got the pen… I got close down there, but he keeps disappearing on me, so I’m gonna ask ’em what they’ve got in mind because it’s out of my control.”

There’s no ‘Mandalorian’ without Grogu

Of course, no conversation about “The Mandalorian” would be complete without a special appearance from the little green guy himself. Grogu was the final surprise guest during the hour-and-a-half long panel, joining the group for a Mando family portrait as the conversation, moderated by ScreenRant’s Ash Crossan, came to an end.

“The Mandalorian” Season 3 will debut in Feb. 2023, with “Ahsoka” to follow later next year.

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